tv Dateline NBC NBC April 17, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
williams reports from the gulf tomorrow. i'm lester holt in new york. for all of us here at nbc news, good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com he steps forward with a tale you won't believe. >> 20 years of my life dedicated to torturing and killing people. >> thousands murdered. hundreds missing. what it will take to end the madness in mexico?
in one embattled city, one brave mother fights back. >> what did your mother say to you? >> that she was not going to stop. >> her youngest daughter has vanished. her only hope, to solve the mystery herself. she will risk it all to bring her child justice. >> your mother started to receive threats. >> even her life. inside mexico's drug war. good evening. and welcome to "dateline." i'm chris hansen. it is a place so violent 15,000 people are murdered in a year. a place so corrupt, some cops may be moonlighting as criminals. a place so chaotic, hundred of vanish asked neighbor have stopped asking why. as impossible as it seem, this place is right across the border. a brutal war is at our doorstep. and we're about to take you in.
5:00 a.m. mexico city. more than 100 federal police officers board a especially outfitted 727 for a top secret mission. security is so tight that we're not told where we're going or who they're after. all we know is that they're hunting one of the country's top drug bosses and they'll take him dead or alive. we mount cameras on the commando's helmets during the flight. after an hour, we land somewhere in the mountains. where a source finally gives us the background. the target of this operation is one of the alleged leaders of the notorious cartel la familia. he is allegedly responsible for the capture, torture and killing of about a dozen federal police officers. his name is cervanto martinez but he is known as la tuta. he heads a powerful cartel. notorious for public displays of brutality.
they're known as mexico's premier traffickers of crystal meth. nearly all of it to the united states. it was the growing strength and savagery of group like la familia that compelled him to declare war on the drug cartel when's he was sworn in as president in december 2006. the former mexico foreign minister said mexicans liked the idea. >> they thought it would be easy, it would be quick, and it was a way of showing the flag, showing muscle. >> reporter: in the u.s., knowing mexico was fighting to keep drug off america's streets, pitched in. congress made a $1.4 billion pledge to mexico's war chest. but mexico has been fighting an up-hill battle. made worse by a river of weapons flowing into the country. which meant the cartels are better armed than the government that is fighting them. and america's hunger for illegal drug keeps the cartels rich,
which means they can also afford to pay mexico an police more than the government can. that's a problem. a big problem. while many of these men are risking their lives to pursue the cartel boss, there is a real possibility that one of them secretly work for the criminal kingpin. still, we follow along. from the air field, the police board blackhawks to fly to the town where the drug boss had been only that morning. but where was he? he managed to evade a lesser member of the cartel but la tuta slipped away. >> they couldn't find him. >> still haven't? >> no. there are tip-offs. they have a lot of sources everywhere in governments so they're very well protected. >> this appears to be the way in mexico. a country which teams to have the boot of the cartels on its throat. where more than 36,000 people
have been kid in drug-related violence. last year alone, it was 15,000. entire towns have emptied out. innocent inhabitants fleeing the mayhem. no where has the blood-letting been more fierce than this place, dubbed murder city. ciudad juarez. just across the border from one of the safest cities, el paso, tex, juarez with a population of 1.5 million, has long been notorious for murder. among the dead work the journalists both executed in mafia style hits themselves worked for el diario, the daily paper where this woman covers the justice system. >> when you first became a reporter here in juarez, did you ever imagine you would see two of your colleagues killed? gunned down? >> i never, not even in my wild dreams, wildest dreams thought
it was going to be so close, so horrible, so massive, like this. never. >> they never found out who killed those reporters or why. now the violence has reached an epic scale. two big cartels are waging an all-out war for control of the juarez drug market using thousands of young gang members as their foot soldiers. in this city, an average of 11 people were murdered every day last year. and less than 3% of those murders are ever prosecuted. less than 3%. one of the lowest rates in the world. what does that say about the judicial system? >> it is a total failure. >> a total failure. in my book. >> she saw too many times how the state's failure to prosecute crime feeds on itself and is now writing a book about this climate of impunity. >> impunity, when the state is
unable to prosecute and punish crime. >> when does that result in? >> the result, imagine if you're don't punish crime, is that you can -- >> get away with murder. >> and commit any crime. exactly. >> to really appreciate how far this impunity go and how the drug war and violence are affecting mexico, you need to know what happens to those who have nothing to do with the gangs in cartels. people who get caught in the middle. you need to know what happens to the innocent. like this young resident of juarez named ruby frere escobedo. >> she was a teenager. >> her brother was 14 years older than ruby and growing up he took care of her. while their single mother worked as a nurse. ruby's sunny disposition brought the family together and they doted on her. spoiled. >> spoiled. she was spoiled.
>> how close were the two of you? >> she was real close to me, actually. when she ever had a problem. she always run to me. >> though she was just 16, ruby already had a baby daughter with her boyfriend sergio baraza. ruby's family, especially their mother, didn't approve of sergio. he was 8 years older than ruby. he was reputed to be a member of a street gang and he had had a few run-ins with the law over his explosive temper. so the couple lived on their own and marie tried to give him space. it went on like that until 2008. her brother was alarm that he hadn't heard from ruby for week. >> one day i got to the apartment and there was nobody there. >> what did you think that happened? >> it was a note in there that she was having a lot of problems with her boyfriend. and they were going to try to live in another place.
that was the last thing that i heard at that point. >> ruby had disappeared so they did what any frightened family would do. they went to police. and it was then they got their first taste of a justice system that seemed to want nothing to do with their problem. >> they said that they weren't able to do nothing about that. >> why? >> because they needed to wait. i don't know, three months or -- >> three months? >> i don't remember the exact time but then we need to wait. >> so the family waited. >> christmas came and there was no call. then new years eve and there was no call. >> it was then he realize she had may not have merely left time. that something much worse might have happened. coming up, what had happened to ruby? the search for answers begins. and a mother takes matters into her own hands. >> did this consume her? >> yeah.
it did. >> as we take you deeper inside mexico's drug war. ♪ just call me angel ♪ ♪ of the morning ♪ ♪ angel ♪ ♪ just touch my cheek before... ♪ [ nathan ] that was painful to watch. he needs a highlander. one that comes with a sweet rear-seat entertainment system. [ male announcer ] see the stylish new highlander at youtube.com/highlander.
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ciudad juarez. some say its streets are covered in blood and bones belonging to the disappeared lie just beneath the din and dust. a 16-year-old girl named ruby escobedo is missing. the absence struck her mother harder than anyone. she knew that years earlier, hundreds of women had vanished from juarez. some abducted by drug gangs, some raped, then discarded. many whose disappearance has never been explained. but mary wasn't about to accept her youngest daughter was gone.
>> my mom was a fighter. she was always there for us all the time. >> she was that way her whole life. >> yeah. she always work for her family. she believed in family. >> tight family bonds are common place among people who grew up in juarez. like sarah paez. what was wear like when you were growing up here? >> it was very peaceful. >> peaceful? >> peaceful, very prosperous, the kids were very happy. >> but no more. she now lives across the border in el paso, texas, but travels back into the danger zone each day for work. starting with a wait at the border. >> do you sense an immediate difference when you cross the difference from el paso into juarez? you go from one of the safest cities in the united states to one of the most dangerous cities in the world. >> it makes me alert of what i have to face, you know? but there are some things that you can not afford and fear is
one of them. >> what does she do in juarez? she helps relatives of those who have disappeared. the smallest relatives. her mother founded their family run orphanage 20 years ago to help abandoned children. today, about half the kids who will have here are the survivors of a drug war who. has created about 10,000 orphans in juarez alone. it is a war that is all around them. where people like ruby can disappear and others can be gunned down for no reason. they will us this 8-year-old's father was shot to death because the garage where he worked could no longer pay protection money to a drug gang. this 17-year-old orphan is keeping an eye on him. >> i try to turn the boys to the -- >> you try to be a good role model to the young men here? >> yeah, yeah. >> even the best role models can only do so much. that's because the drug business
is always hiring. and the recruitment pitch can be music to a teenager's ears. >> you want to make money? it is like, yeah. you see that they have cars. they got girls. >> you wanted to be a player. >> yeah. >> this man who is wearing a disguise is a former drug trafficker. he says he was lured into the business when he was only 17 and that the cartels were so powerful, there was little need to fear the law on either side of the border. once he was arrested in the u.s. for carrying over 100 pounds of pot to traffickers, that's not huge. but he was on probation at the time. >> in my head, i was thinking, i'm going to do time. and i got in touch with the right person and he got in touch with, you know, the cartel lawyer. you know what? give us your information. give us a week. we can make this work.
>> how much did that cost you to quote/unquote make this work? >> about $25,000. >> what was the tcome of this case? >> dismissed. and off probation. how do you make that happen? >> how do you make it happen? >> how do you make it happen? money. >> money and power of the big cartels had a way of perverting justice on the border as ruby's family would soon find out. as for now, mary was frustrated by the police inaction so she launched her own campaign to find ruby. >> passing out fliers, talking to people, going to different places monday through sunday every day, every day. >> did this consume her? >> yeah, it did. >> what about you? >> i was always with her. always with her. >> where was ruby? so many terrible things can happen to a young woman in juarez. was she abducted by a drug cartel? kidnapped for ransom?
ruby was not a drug dealer. not part of a gang. but that wouldn't prevent her from falling prey to the dangers. and the news mary was about the worst news you could expect. coming up, a call from out of the blue. >> i cannot imagine hearing something like that about a loved one. >> it was something so horrible that, you know, we didn't know what to do. >> when "dateline" continues. welcome. and happy baconalia! baconalia? mm-hmm. why, it's the sacred festival of bacon.
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this former nurse was on a mission to unearth what that to her youngest daughter ruby. months would pass without any news of her daughter. finally when news did come, it was not from police detectives but from a stranger. >> my mom received a call from this youngster. he said that he was going to tell us something very, very hard. and he started telling us that sergio killed my sister. >> juan said that the youngster
told the details of how sergio had enlisted neighbors to help dispose of ruby's body. >> he took his brother and some other guy to the apartment, took my sister's body to a trash dump and burned her body. >> i cannot imagine hearing something like that about a loved one. >> it was something so horrible that we didn't know what to do. >> sergio was ruby's boyfriend, the father of her little girl. was he capable of killing her? we learned that as a child, he had been abandoned by his parents and dumped at that same orphanage we saw earlier where they remember him as a troubled kid. but at sergio's more recent past that linked him to the crime. according to this police report, just after ruby disappeared and long before mary started
searching for her, sergio had will his stepfather that in a jealous rage, he had beaten ruby to death. the stepfather went to the police and sergio repeated his confession that he had killed ruby. but since the police found no physical evidence, the case was dropped. and they didn't bother to tell mary that someone had actually confessed to killing her daughter. none of this surprises reporter sandra rodriguez. did the police properly investigate this case? >> i don't think so. no. >> why not? >> first, because they don't look for the victim as far as the mother reported missing. >> so the mother reports -- >> the missing and they don't seem to do anything. >> records from the case show police didn't bother interviewing some people sergio had confessed to. that they failed to search the van that he allegedly used to transport ruby's body, leading to a crucial lack of physical evidence.
>> why do you think the police were not more aggressive about investigating your sister's disappearance? >> i believe because in juarez, they don't care for the people. for the families. there's so much going on over there. drugs, killing, you know, from the cartels. so they don't really care for other thing happening in that city. >> the question is with sergio actually confessing, why wouldn't they try harder to gather evidence against him? mary would soon find the answer. for now, the former nurse turned entrepreneur put her grief to use in a public campaign to bring sergio to justice. she was now raising ruby's daughter and pushed her in a stroller wherever she went, getting media attention along the way. >> translator: this man didn't just enmy daughter's life. he destroyed a whole family.
he took my daughter's right to live. >> ruby became a poster victim for all that is wrong in juarez. how police apathy can allow evil to go unpunished. mary knew if she wanted justice, she would have to force the police, even embarrass them, into action. even if mexico's local cops have a reputation for incompetence, the federal police and military claim they're doing a better job fighting the drug cartels. starting with the thousands of guns they've managed to take away from them. over all, the government has confiscated 67,000 guns in the last four years. today alone, more than 450 will be destroyed. but how do you stop the flood? for every gun captured, many more are smuggled in. many from the united states where guns are easier to purchase legally.
where there are 6,600 gun stores along the border. in mexico, believe it or not, there is only one gun shop in the entire country. that's right. only one. it is run by the military and sell about 30 gun a day to private citizens for hunting and home protection. the highest caliber gun you can buy here is a .38. and there's one more thing. here in mexico, civilians can only own one gun at a time. even so, the river of weapons keeps flowing. in fact, the u.s. bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms is part of an undercover operation actually allowed hundreds of guns to be smuggled to the mexican drug cartels. >> the u.s. atf let arms in deliberately in order to trace them, track them. >> which the former mexican minister thinks resulted in more mexico an deaths. >> it makes people in mexico very irritated.
they say not only do the americans not do anything to stop the guns from entering, they push them. >> the atf told us it is investigating. and that's just one of the reasons many mexicans are at their wit's end. over the past four years they've seen organized crime killing spread like a cancer to areas where it had not been. which brings us back to mary. despite that ruby's murderer had confessed nine months earlier, the police still had not brought the killer to justice. >> we'll continue fighting. >> she was about to find out how difficult that would be in a place like juarez. coming up, the case against ruby's killer moves into court. and there is one more surprise in store. this time, from the judge's bench. >> i never saw my mom like that before. never. >> a courtroom confrontation from inside mexico's drug war. you can take the heat. until
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the man who kill ruby, her boyfriend sergio, was still at large. despite having confessed to the police and others. what was going on in mexico? what powers were at work that would allow crime to be committed with impunity? this question embedded in her quest struck a chord all across the country. the national media were now following her as she went from one city to the next searching for her daughter's killer. until finally after six months,
she found him living 600 miles away from ciudad juarez. >> he was in another city. >> now the police had to arrest him. after all, mary had led them right to sergio's door. he was finally arrested and brought back to juarez where he confessed again. >> at this point, we haven't found my sister's body. so when he got arrested, he took the police to the place where my sister's body was. >> later with news crews following them, they returned to the place where ruby's remain were discovered next to a pig sty in a trash dump filled with. in remains. >> me and my mom, we went to the place where hundreds and hundreds of bones from different animals looking for more parts of my sister's body.
>> you actually searched the area. >> yeah. we were only able to get one-third of her bones. >> this time, sergio wasn't allowed to go free. he was charged with aggravated homicide. nearly two years after ruby had disappeared, sergio went on trial here at the state tribe unional in juarez. >> finally it seemed justice for ruby was at hand. >> did you and your mother attend the trial? >> yes, we were there every single day. >> the evidence that emerged in the trial seemed overwhelming. in addition to telling multiple people that he had murdered ruby, there was the fact that sergio had shown police the spot where they found ruby's remains. then as the trial drew to a close, there was this surprise which appeared to confirm sergio's guilt once and for all. >> the very last court, he asked for forgiveness to my mom for the things that he did.
>> that's sergio with his back to us, in open court making his plea to mary. >> i know her. it is a great damage that no one can really repair. like i said before, and i know you don't forgive me, but i ask for forgiveness. >> when we heard this, we thought that he was going to be, you know -- >> found guilty. >> correct. >> in mexico, there are no jury trials. three judges handed down the verdict and what those judges did horrified ruby's family. >> the tribunal unanimously absolved sergio. >> they acquitted sergio. for mary, it was too much to bear. [ screaming ] >> i never felt so much frustration in my life that day. i believe that was one of my
worst days in my life. i never saw my mom like that before. never. not even when we received notice that my sister was dead. >> so this was almost harder for her to accept than the fact your sister's remains were found. >> she told me for her, this judge, they killed my sister again. they murdered my sister again with this. >> but the judges defended their decision saying they had no choice because of the issues involving the ad missibility of the confession and because the police investigation yielded no physical evidence. >> in her grief, mary still would not accept the injustice of justice in juarez. what did your mother say after sergio was acquitted? >> that she was not going to stop until this guy was in jail again. >> she again took to the streets. every day she marched six mile
from the police department to the courthouse. she even turned to satire, mocking the justice system and the judges who had acquitted sergio. and she paraded through town wearing nothing but a photo of her daughter as an emblem of a mother's love and her hunger for justice. >> translator: i'm here naked, covered only with the pain these judges have caused me. by taking away my daughter's right to justice. >> she wanted the attention of the whole world. because they were the ones, you know, that would push the authorities to do something about what was going on. >> but what was going on? how could a confessed murderer go free? you have to wonder if there were bigger forces at work here. as mary would find out as she hunted for him by herself again, sergio would not just be protected by a broken legal
system but shielded by one of mexico's most dangerous drug cartels. and just how brutal are these cartels? we're about to find out. >> 20 years of my life torturing and killing people. not much -- just brewing up some dunkin' donuts coffee. want some? [ whoosh ] i'd love some. one taste, and you'll understand. delicious dunkin' donuts coffee. mm! good! pick some up where you buy groceries. america runs on dunkin'. another reason to smile -- dunkin' donuts' new seasonal flavors. get 'em while they last. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] ragu, packed with two servings of veggies in every half cup of our now thicker richer, healthy sauce. ragu has
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finally after a month of protests, mary thought she had won. an appellate court found sergio guilty of murdering mary's daughter ruby and sentenced him to 50 years in prison. but it was too late. sergio had already left town again and again the authorities didn't seem to be looking for him. so her son juan said mary went to the last place the killer had been found. not juarez but that town hundreds of mile away. >> he was there. >> he was there. >> alive like a family man with another girl with new babies, new family. >> how hard was it for you and your mother to find sergio? >> not hard at all. >> this is where mary's story became the ultimate symbol of crime's grip on mexico.
and it became even clearer why the police hadn't picked sergio up. because sergio had actually joined up with a drug cartel known as the zetas, made up of former mexican special forces, they are considered the most brutal cartel in all of mexico. u.s. and mexican law enforcement blame them for such atrocities as last year's massacre of 72 migrants and in february, the killing of a u.s. special agent. and why wouldn't the police be interested in going after one of the zetas? this man carefully hiding his face, can provide some answers. for decades, he was a police commander. but liberty to what he has to say about just how close some police are to the drug business. >> translator: the narcos can buy anyone, they pay off the police, the immigration officials. >> just how deep is the corruption? the reason he won't show his face is because for all those
years at the same time he was a police commander, he was also a hitman for the juarez cartel. >> translator: i'm going to tell but 20 years of my life dedicated to serving narco trafficking, serving them with these hands, torturing and killing people. >> he left his life in late 2007. now he is telling that grim story in a documentary and book, el s.icario. bowden, an author who has been following the drug rid the for 25 years, was the first to connect with him. he has check him out and is convinced he is the real deal. bowden said along the way, he learned something shocking about his source. he wasn't a man who started as a cop and turned bad. he actually began as a young cartel thug and only joined the police at the suggestion of the cartel. >> look, you're going to the state police academy. >> how is it possible that a
drug cartel leader could choose who he wants to go to the state police academy. >> see these hands? that's the mexican government in the drug organizations. that's how it worked. >> in fact, he says in a class of 200, there were actually 50 police cadets on the cartel pay roll. and some top mexican officials have been found taking large sum of money from the cartels, including a chief of the attorney general's organized crime investigations division and a drug czar. and it is not just mexico. the cartels have been paying american officials as well. like this border patrol officer who was convicted of taking $5 million in exchange for letting tons of marijuana into the u.s. the sicario said as a police cadet, he even spent time training with the fbi across the border in tucson. all while being a member of the cartel.
imagine, a hitman on the pay roll of the cartel's being promoted to commander of the juarez police anti-kidnapping squad. >> he is doing the kidnapping for the cartels and investigating the kidnapping. >> he said it would actually happen that they would snatch somebody, kidnap them. then get back to the office and his phone would ring and it would be the family reporting that one of their loved ones are missing and he is the guy who took the person. >> how is that possible? >> in a country of poverty, drugs are an enormous business. and everybody wants a piece of it. the government wants a piece of it. the police wants a piece of it, the army wants a piece of and it everybody gets a piece of it. >> he said they cruise the streets looking for their quarry. >> the day of the kidnapping we woulder to police chief to call a meeting to all personnel. the message is clear the streets. we're going to work. >> their victims were usually
people who owed money to the cartel. but he would also procure women for the boss. he would use this pitch that was part temptation, part menace. >> listen, if you agree to come with us, you'll stay for a week in the best hotel and the best beach and you'll have a very pleasant week. many, many women went along with it and they are alive. but many others believed they could outsmart us and i never saw them again. >> the sicario believes he killed hundreds in an environment where it was difficult to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. which may explain why mary was having so much trouble trying to bring sergio baraza to justice. she knew she was up against some very powerful and very dangerous people. it may also explain what was about to happen to her. your mother started to receive threats. >> yeah.
>> the woman hunting for justice is about to be hunted herself. a stunning development. coming up friday on daytona line, as darkness fell. >> they were very much in love. >> and not just with each other. hunting, too, this was their wedding day. >> she was very good with the rifle. >> so good that when she shot at something she said looked like a bear, she didn't miss. but it wasn't a bear. >> i heard this god-awful scream. >> the victim was dead within seconds. suspicion mounting by the minute. >> immediately we have this instinct this wasn't an accident. >> the question is, what would a court say? >> she was just shaking.
killed just in 2010. she had found sergio, the man convicted of killing ruby. yet he was still a free man, reputedly a member of the ruthless zeta cartel. virtually untouchable and possibly more dangerous than before. your mother started to receive threats. >> yeah. this started after we discovered that he was with this cartel. >> what kind of threats was your mother receiving? >> to leave everything the way he was point. >> but mary wasn't about to do that. she travel to mexico city to gain an audience with president calderon. she spoke with the media. but not with the president. in a way, it was surprising that calderon wouldn't meet her. after all, she was a brif mexico an who had seized the national spotlight by standing up against criminality. and he was a president who had
staked his claim to history on his war against organized crime. in fact, the government had been proud of its efforts and victories in that war. they managed to capture or kill some 20 top cartel leaders. and the mexican government said it is trying to deal with the corruption problem, beginning with who gets recruited into the police. >> how many people work in this operation here? >> 250 people. >> 250. francisco, the undersecretary of the federal police, gave us a tour of the mexico city intelligence center. i noticed that it looks more like a university campus. >> yes, yes. we need to start with young people in order to conform the new abilities. >> some say going after the cartel leaders isn't the real solution. in fact, it can make things worse. political scientist eduardo guerrero spent two years pouring
over the statistics. he found immediately after the government takes down a cartel leader, the violence go way up. he said that's because there is a battle for succession and the cartel's rivals attack their weakened enemy. >> we went along with more than 100 agents as they went after the leader of la familia. what's wrong with that picture? >> when you arrest the top leaders, you create a wave of violence that sometimes is very, very costly and many people die. >> so what do you want? do you want to reduce violence or do you want to reduce drug trafficking? >> the former minister had been a major backer of president calderon. now he thinks the president's war on the cartels is a failure and says the u.s. shares some of the responsibility. >> as long as you have the
market that you have in the united states, for drug of all sorts and in particular for cocaine coming from colombia through mexico, it is impossible to shut it down. >> since he thinks it is unrealistic to stop drug use in the u.s., he proposed a possibly radical solution for both countries. >> we should legalize some drugs, start doing it now. second, we have to fight the violence and crime that affects society. that is, kid npg, extortion, hold-ups, robbery. >> in other words, go after violent criminals like sergio. a killer who was still free and seemingly hidden by the dark shadow of a cartel. the police didn't appear interested in arresting him, but mary still was. she traveled to the state capital, chihuahua. this time without juan. >> did you worry about her safety? >> yeah, of course. all the time.
every trip, every time that she was on the road. i had this thought. >> that minute she wouldn't come home. >> at the state capitol this past december, she vowed to stage a vigil until sergio was locked up. she went public about the threats. which she believed were coming from her daughter's murderer. >> translator: if this man will come couple me, let him come and kill me right here to shame the government. >> a few nights later at 7:30 p.m., a week before christmas, a surveillance camera captures the scene at the plaza beside the governor's office. mary is seated next to her brother, continuing her vigil. this is an official government area. yet no police officers appear to be present. watch carefully. a white car pulls up next to her vehicle where her granddaughter is sleeping. a man gets out. he approaches her and tries to
shoot her. but his gun jams. her brother throws a chair at him. she runs away. he chases mary across the street. this time, the gun works. she falls on the sidewalk, shot in the head. two years after her daughter ruby had disappeared, mary escobedo who somehow thought law and order would bring her justice, was murdered in front of the state capitol. the assassination made headlines throughout mexico. president calderon used his twitter account to comment that it was, quote, lamentable that the judges had freed ruby's confessed killer and that this impunity caused the assassination of mary. despite this message and despite a repeated requests no, mexican government official on any level could find time to sit down for an interview to talk with us
about the killing of mary escobedo. >> this shows how the government doesn't really care about justice. >> reporter sandra rodriguez said she is outraged that in the face of all the threats mary was receiving, the police failed to protect her. who is worse? the police or the cartels? >> in mexico, there is no difference. >> no difference. >> there is no difference. >> they're intertwined through corruption. >> if the cartels are so strong as they are, it is because they work with the protection of the state all these years. that's for sure. >> every time that i see that, i cry. because i feel so frustrated that first of all, i was not there to help her.
and nobody else, the police, the ones that should be, you know, doing their job, they were not there. >> the day after mary was shot, her boyfriend's carpentry shop was burned to the ground. and later, his brother would also be murdered. along with a witness who testified at sergio's trial. the family is living in fear of retribution. ruby's murderer, sergio baraza, is still at large. police have also not apprehended anyone in the killing of mary. juan is now in the united states, seeking asylum with the help of lawyer carlos specter. though he vows to keep fighting the crime and impunity that has seized his homeland. don't you fear they'll come after you next? >> i do. but i ca